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The History of the Abarth 500

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Today the Abarth brand is synonymous with impressive motoring engineering and design excellence.

Today the Abarth brand is synonymous with impressive motoring engineering and design excellence. What many don’t know is that the story behind the brand is rich in heritage and racing car history, which are still evident in the impressive models we see on the road today.

The company was first founded by Austrian-born Karl Abarth, who built his career from his extensive knowledge of motorcycles and connections in the racing industry. After suffering a near fatal motorcycle accident he was forced to abandon his racing career, which earned him five European Motorcycle Championships, and began experimenting with some of his own mechanical ideas.

Abarth moved to Italy in the 1940s and changed his name to the more Italian-sounding Carlo, before becoming a representative of the Porsche Design Studio. He then went on to develop a close relationship with Italian sports-car manufacturer Cisitalia and used his extensive list of contacts and motoring connections to found Abarth & Co, together with his racing driver friend, Guido Scagliarini.

Interesting Fact – The official Abarth logo is based on Carlo’s birth sign, the scorpion!

After just one year of trading the company had already employed over 40 members of staff and was manufacturing a range of tailor-made exhaust silencers. Despite being costly at the time the company sold thousands of the silencers, which boasted a matt finish with chrome-plated tips, resulting in the brand becoming widely recognised for its impressive quality offerings.

In 1958 the manufacturer created its first Abarth 500, which was also one of the first city cars to take to the road. Following the success of the model, the decision was made to give it an Abarth makeover, increasing the engine size and optimising the fuel intake systems with sports exhaust. Although little was changed on the exterior, the spruced up 595 model had twice the amount of horsepower and went on to break six international records as well as achieve 900 individual race victories by 1965.

Interesting Fact – The Abarth name became so popular by the sixties that it was used as a byword for performance. When ordering a strong coffee, people would ask for an Abarth coffee!

Years later in 2007, Fiat re-launched the Abarth brand with a fresh new range of sporty models, which continue to be sold around the world to this day. To take a closer look at how the vehicles have transformed in design, click here to view our Abarth range.

Car Finance Options Explained…

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Posted on: 21st Jun 2018

Finding the right car that’s suitable for you is an exciting experience but deciding how to pay for your new car can be a challenge as there are various options to choose from, some of which not everyone fully understands. Below we will explain the most popular forms of payment options, to help you decide which one is right for you.

MOT Changes 2018

MOT Changes 2018

Posted on: 19th May 2018

As of 20th May 2018, the MOT test has undergone some of the most significant changes of its near 60-year history. Some of the changes include new defect categories, stricter rules for Diesel car emissions and some cars over 40-year-old will be exempt from the MOT test. The main changes which you need to know about are explained below.

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Posted on: 19th Jan 2018

Both the Sales and Service team at Richard Hardie Durham have helped to support St Cuthbert’s Hospice, a local charity offering care services to people with life limiting conditions.

Driving Test Changes In December 2017

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Posted on: 4th Dec 2017

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